riot cops white house
© AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Police form a line on H Street as demonstrators gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, near the White House in Washington.
A senior official in the direct chain of command for defending Washington D.C. told Fox News that more than 50 Secret Service officers have been injured Sunday night so far, and that some rioters are throwing bottles and Molotov cocktails.

As observed in New York City and elsewhere, groups in D.C. are planting cars filled with incendiary materials for future use, Fox News is told.

U.S. Marshals and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents have been deployed to the streets of D.C. in an extraordinary move to beef up security alongside local police and Homeland Security agents, including the Secret Service, the Justice Department confirmed late Sunday. Fox News has learned U.S. Attorney for D.C. Mike Sherwin is heavily involved in the operation.

Lights that normally illuminate the exterior of the White House were disabled early Monday morning, reportedly so that the Secret Service could use night-vision equipment to monitor protesters.

Additionally, the entire Washington, D.C. National Guard is being called in to help with the response to protests outside the White House and elsewhere in the nation's capital, according to two Defense Department officials. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday that she had requested 500 DC Guardsman to assist local law enforcement. Later on Sunday, as the protests escalated, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy ordered the rest of the Guardsman — roughly 1,200 soldiers — to report.

As authorities clashed with demonstrators for the third straight night, the parish house connected to the historic St. John's Episcopal Church across the street from the White House was set on fire late Sunday. The parish house contains offices and parlors for gatherings. The basement, which was also torched, is used for childcare during church services, and had recently undergone renovations.

The church says every president beginning with James Madison, "until the present," has attended a service at the church, giving it the nickname, "the church of presidents." The first services at the church were held in 1816, according to its website.

Before the blaze, church officials had said they were thankful that the previous day of protests hadn't significantly damaged the structure.

"We are fortunate that the damage to the buildings is limited," Rev. Rob Fisher, the rector of the church, said in a statement earlier Sunday, several hours before the fire was set.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) building was also set ablaze near the White House. The AFL-CIO is the nation's largest pro-union group.

An hour before the 11 p.m. ET curfew in D.C., police fired a major barrage of tear gas stun grenades into the crowd of more than 1,000 people, largely clearing Lafayette Park across the street from the White House and scattering protesters into the street.

Protesters piled up road signs and plastic barriers and lit a raging fire in the middle of H Street. Some pulled an American flag from a nearby building and threw it into the blaze. Others added branches pulled from trees. A cinder block structure, on the north side of the park, that had bathrooms and a maintenance office, was engulfed in flames.

Several miles north, a separate protest broke out in Northwest D.C., near the Maryland border. The Metropolitan Police Department says there were break-ins at a Target and a shopping center that houses Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue Men's Store, T.J. Maxx, a movie theater and specialty stores. Police say several individuals have been detained.

riot near white house
© AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Police stand near a overturned vehicle and a fire as demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.
Separately on Sunday, Twitter suspended the account of Antifa, the left-wing group that Trump branded a terrorist organization earlier in the day. The suspension came after Antifa urged members to go into "white hoods" and "take what's ours." Twitter and President Trump have sparred in recent days over censorship.

The developments came as it emerged that the Secret Service took President Trump to the White House's underground bunker on Friday night, when protests outside the complex intensified.

A senior administration official confirmed the information to Fox News after The New York Times first reported the story.

"Wasn't long. But he went," the official said Sunday.

The White House declined to comment.

"The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions," White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

Trump's precise position Sunday night was not immediately clear. Trump traveled to Florida on Saturday to view the first manned space launch from the U.S. in nearly a decade. He returned to a White House under virtual siege, with protesters — some violent — gathered just a few hundred yards away through much of the night.

The D.C. demonstration Sunday was one of several around the country responding to the death of Floyd, a black man who died in police custody.

Four officers have been fired in the Floyd case, and one has been arrested and charged. A video showed the arrested officer kneeling on Floyd for several minutes as he screamed that he could not breathe, although an initial medical examiner's report found "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation" -- and cited Floyd's "underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease," as well as the "potential intoxicants" in his system.

The scale of the coast-to-coast protests rivaled the historic demonstrations of the civil rights and Vietnam War eras.


The scene on Sunday was similar to the episode outside the White House two days earlier. Around the time Trump headed to the safety Friday night, multiple agents were being "assaulted with bricks, rocks, bottles, fireworks and other items" -- injuring a number of uniformed division officers and special agents, according to the Secret Service.

The extent of the injuries was unclear. No one reportedly made it over the White House fence, but the agency determined that the situation warranted immediate action.

Trump has said he had "watched every move" from inside the executive mansion during Friday's protest and "couldn't have felt more safe" as the Secret Service let the protesters carry on, "but whenever someone ... got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on then, hard — didn't know what hit them."

On Saturday morning, Trump praised the Secret Service for its protection of the White House the previous night, calling them "very cool & very professional" -- and warned that any protesters who breached the fence would have met by "vicious dogs" and "ominous weapons."

"The President doesn't make the call to move to the bunker," Dan Bongino, a former lead Secret Service agent in the presidential protective detail and a Fox News contributor, wrote on Sunday. "The trained professionals of the Secret Service do."

While unusual, it isn't unprecedented for protectees to be taken to the underground bunker when there are aerial intrusions or other threats to the White House. Top White House officials, including then-Vice President Dick Cheney, were whisked to the bunker after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The mob outside the White House had also turned its rage on a Fox News crew early Saturday, chasing and pummeling the journalists in a harrowing scene captured on video.


The Secret Service tweeted late Sunday: "In an effort to ensure public safety, pedestrians and motorists are encouraged to avoid streets and parks near the White House complex."

Hundreds of people converged on the White House and marched along the National Mall, chanting "Black Lives Matter," "I can't breathe" and "No justice, no peace."

Protesters threw water bottles, traffic cones, scooters, even tear gas cans at police lines. They set fire to a car and a trash bin and smashed windows, including at Bay Atlantic University. "What are you doing? That's a school," one man yelled.

An American flag hanging at the Export-Import Bank was taken down, burned and replaced with a Black Lives Matter banner.

Trump appeared to cheer on the tougher tactics being used by law enforcement to disperse protesters Saturday night. He commended National Guard troops deployed in Minneapolis, declaring "No games!" and he also said police in New York City "must be allowed to do their job!"

"Let New York's Finest be New York's Finest," Trump said on Twitter after returning to the White House from Florida, where he watched the launch of a SpaceX rocket. He did not talk to reporters upon his return and it was not clear if he could hear the protest over the sound of his helicopter. But for at least part of the flight, televisions on Air Force One were turned to Fox News and its coverage of the protests.


For more details on protests around the US, with photos and videos, see original article here.